Thursday, March 11, 2004

Songs of Innocence

Songs of Innocence

Classical music always reminds me of my childhood. I wrote about how I used to listen to Konsert Klasik and Musik Klasik programmes on radio during those early years of FM broadcast in our country. Even though I seldom buy classical music these days, I still own a good collection of them, which includes the complete symphonies of Beethoven, the sonatas of Mozart and the pianoforte works of Chopin.

My years of growing up were filled with the sound of the piano: There were at least two next-door families in my neighbourhood who had children practising the piano day and night. Even now whenever I hear the distant tinkle of piano of some poor child struggling with a Mozart minuet, my mind rushes back to those carefree days of yore.

I was fortunate to have the opportunity to pick up a bit of the piano when I was a teenager. Mostly self-taught, I often struggled with pieces more difficult than what my fingers could manage. I didn't play very well at all, but I did spent happy hours labouring through many Beethoven sonatas.

The good thing about classical music is that anyone can play and enjoy the work of the masters. There's only one copy of Leonardo's Mona Lisa and one has to be at the Louvre to really appreciate its beauty; but with the masterpieces of classical music, any four-year-old kid can attempt the dainty minuets of Mozart, the romantic nocturnes of Chopin or even the rousing rhapsodies of Liszt. Music is really for the masses.

But alas, the only keyboard I touch these days is the one I'm using to type these words now. Whenever I hear piano music on the radio or TV, my fingers would wander to caress some imaginary set of ivory keys.

Yes, my piano is there still, back in my hometown, silent and unattended, inconsolable in its gloom. One day--I don't know when--we'll be together again. And I know I will touch her, perhaps with some initial hesitation, mingled with the shy tenderness of lovers reunited. Slowly but surely, we'll warm to each other's familiar embrace. And soon, without doubt, those old sweet songs of childhood would be sung again.

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